Veggies that are properly harvested and stored deliver top nutrition, taste and texture, and last longer in storage. A few simple harvest tricks preserve the quality of produce picked in summer’s heat.
Keep yourself cool, too. Wear a wide-brimmed hat and light-colored shirt to escape buzzing insects. Crush leaves from fragrant herbs such as basil, oregano or mint to deter biting bugs. And, tie a wet bandana around your neck to keep you cool.
Protect Your Freshly Picked Harvest:
- Plan to harvest in the morning, after plants have recovered from the previous day’s heat stress.
- Water plants lightly the night before. Gently rinse the produce, but don’t soak the soil.
- Collect your harvest in a cooler or laundry basket.
- Choose a shady spot. Sort and clean veggies in a large bucket of cold water.
- Dry produce and refrigerate.
Don’t refrigerate tomatoes and potatoes. Chilling destroys important flavor compounds in tomatoes, so they are best kept at room temperature. Cold turns potato starches into sugars, which makes the potatoes darken when cooked. Store potatoes in a cool, dark cabinet.